Read the following sentence.

"He didn't play cricket because of Tim"

This means he is playing cricket but it is not because of Tim

What if i wanna say he is not playing cricket . The reason is Tim

Can I just say

"Because of Tim , he is not playing cricket"

2 Answers 2


The sentence

(1) He didn't play cricket because of Tim

can mean either

(2) He is playing cricket but not because of Tim
(3) Because of Tim he is not playing cricket.

If a speaker was saying (1) out loud, they might emphasize Tim to suggest that they mean (2), or emphasize because of to suggest that they mean (3).

If you want to be unambiguous, you can use either (2) or (3) (they are both grammatically correct), but (1) is the most natural-sounding and probably what a native speaker would use.

  • 2
    Also OP should avoid 'I wanna'. Jun 5, 2022 at 15:19
  • @George K If a native speaker uses (1) , do they likely use the intonation you suggested
    – Bla Bbaa
    Jun 5, 2022 at 16:21
  • 1
    @BlaBbaa, unfortunately intonation is hard to explain over text. You can say (1) with many different intonations. Fundamentally, which interpretation is intended has more to do with pitch and accent than volume, but the thumbnail sketch I give in the answer is broadly correct: emphasis on because of for (3); on Tim for (2).
    – George K.
    Jun 5, 2022 at 16:25
  • Supposing the topic of the cause of someone playing cricket had been brought up, and it was alleged to be Tim, but I thought it was not, I would probably say (e.g.) 'It wasn't because of Tim that she played cricket'. Jun 6, 2022 at 10:02

He didn't play cricket because of Tim.

This can have two meanings, as explained by @George K in his answer. To avoid having ambiguities, we could in a conversation use various intonation, or in written form rephrase the sentence in various ways.

If we want to retain the words and their order for whatever reasons, we could use punctuation to make this differentiation.

Usually, if a dependent clause follows an independent one, commas are not used to separate the clauses. Possible exceptions are in sentences with negative clauses.
In OP's example, placing a comma before because clarifies that the subject did not play cricket.

He didn't play cricket, because of Tim.

OP's suggestion also works and clarifies that the subject did not play cricket.

Because of Tim, he is not playing cricket

Master Class explains further.

I’m not going to New York because the weather will be cold.

Placing a comma before “because” clarifies that, as a result of the weather being cold, the speaker is not going to New York. Without a comma before “because,” the sentence could indicate that the speaker may be going to New York for a reason other than the cold weather.

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